Streaming while Eating: Why Why People Can’t Get Enough of Mukbang

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The Internet has made video streaming a common occurrence and pastime. You don’t need to turn on the television at a specific time to watch your favorite murder mystery or reality show. Now, the power is in the hands of the viewer, whether they want to tune in to a horror movie at noon or laugh at a comedy special during the wee hours of the night.

People can also create and upload content without an expensive production budget, made possible by sites like YouTube and Twitch. You’ll find all kinds of uploads from tutorials on building your own laptop to fitness dancing videos. Though, one content that’s making waves throughout the internet is eating videos or Mukbang.

Making sense of Mukbang

Humungous bowls of rich ramen, multiple levels of juicy burgers, and buckets upon buckets of different flavored fried chicken. A single person consumes all of these and more in front of a screen streamed to hundreds of people. Some are even chatting with an online community, taking requests which food they will eat first or how they will do it. This phenomenon is called mukbang, a portmanteau of two South Korean words for eating (meokneun) and broadcast (bangsong).

Since its humble beginnings in South Korea, mukbang has been thrust into the international stage. Famous mukbang personalities such as Kim Thai and Nikocado Avocado have been reported to earn a six-figure salary. Here are some reasons why people can’t take their eyes away from mukbang videos:

  1. Mukbang introduces different kinds of food.

Different kinds of cuisine are featured in mukbang videos as people worldwide eat their country’s specialties. The happy faces and mouth-watering food make viewers want to try the many dishes, especially if consumed attractively. Korean food like black bean sauce noodles and spicy rice cakes are the common culprits because of the interesting sounds they make on-screen. Some restaurants and food chains have even approached professional mukbang personalities to advertise their new products and latest offerings.

 

  1. Mukbang can be a relaxing and sensory experience.

For some strange reason, eating sounds can cause feelings of happiness and relaxation through the neurological reaction called the Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR). A calming and tingling sensation is generated throughout the brain and the spine. Not much conclusive research has been done about ASMR aside from anecdotal data.

But some clinical neurologists like Steven Novella believes that people affected by ASMR have a certain kind of mental wiring that activates the brain’s pleasure response when they hear sounds like whispering, chewing, and cracking objects.

 

  1. Mukbang promotes a sense of community.

Eating alone has become more popular over the years as more people live by themselves in small apartments. According to a study conducted by OnePoll, the average adult American eats 7.4 meals by their lonesome each week. Watching mukbang videos generate the feeling that you’re eating with someone, which can lessen loneliness and isolation. You feel that you are with a community as you are also interacting with other people through the comment section. There is a sense of bonding as you watch the same thing together.

 

Food has always been something more than fulfilling a biological need as it also creates community, happiness, and variety in one’s life. Mukbang is a perfect manifestation of people’s relationship with eating.

Meta title: Why People Can’t Get Enough of Mukbang

Meta description: With more people dining and living alone, mukbang has become a popular trend in the video streaming community. Learn other reasons why people can’t get enough of watching people eat.

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